Estate Agent Data Breach Compensation Claims

This guide will examine when you could be eligible to claim compensation following an estate agent data breach. There are two pieces of data protection legislation that outline the ways in which certain parties are expected to protect your personal data. If they failed to do so, this could lead to your personal data becoming compromised. We have provided further information on the data protection laws, and how a data breach could occur at an estate agent and how this can result in both financial loss and psychological distress. 

estate agent data breach

Estate Agent Data Breach Compensation Claims

You will also find in this guide information on the possible data breach compensation that could be awarded following a successful claim.

Our final section details how you could benefit from working with a data breach solicitor from our panel, and the advantages contained within the type of No Win No Fee contract they can offer.

Contact our advisors for advice about possibly making a data breach claim, and for answers to your questions. You can reach our dedicated team using the following:

Select A Section

  1. When Could You Make An Estate Agent Data Breach Compensation Claim?
  2. Examples Of Data Handled By Estate Agents
  3. Evidence Supporting Claims For Data Breaches By Estate Agents
  4. Check What Payout You Could Be Eligible To Claim
  5. Begin Your Claim For An Estate Agent Data Breach With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  6. Further Guidance On Claims For Data Breaches

When Could You Make An Estate Agent Data Breach Compensation Claim?

The data controller, the party that decides how and why your data will be processed, and the data processor, an external party who processes the data on the controller’s behalf, have a responsibility with regard to the processing, storing and handling of your personal data.

They are required to adhere to data protection laws, namely the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). A failure of the data controller or processor to follow data protection laws can result in a personal data breach.

A personal data breach is defined in general terms as a security incident that affects the availability, integrity or confidentiality of personal data by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

In order to start a personal data breach claim, the following criteria need to be met:

  1. There was a failure by the data controller or processor to uphold their obligations under data protection laws.
  2. This failure resulted in a data breach which affected your personal data.
  3. You experienced financial loss, psychological distress or both because of this breach. 

What Is The Time Limitation Period For An Estate Agent Data Breach Claim?

Generally, you have 6 years to start a claim for an estate agent data breach. This can be reduced to 1 year if the claim is against a public body.

You should contact our advisors as soon as possible to get more information as to whether you are within the relevant time limit. They can also advise further on the eligibility criteria for data breach claims.

Examples Of Data Handled By Estate Agents

Personal data is any information that can be used to identify you either directly or indirectly when used in conjunction with other data. This can include your name, address and phone number as well as your bank account, credit or debit card details. An estate agent could hold this type of information for the purposes of providing their services to you.

Below we have listed some circumstances where an estate agent failing to uphold their obligations under data protection law could result in a breach of your personal data:

  • A failure to update your details after you notified the estate agent of a change of address resulted in a letter with personal data being sent to the wrong address.
  • Physical copies of your personal data were not locked away in the estate agent’s office. This resulted in the documents being lost and unauthorised persons acquiring them. 
  • A failure to use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) resulted in your email address being shared with a number of other estate agent clients.
  • Employees of the estate agent received no training on how to correctly dispose of documents containing sensitive information. This led to files containing your bank details being thrown out with other papers instead of being destroyed. As such, an unauthorised party gained access to your bank account and money was subsequently stolen from your account.

For more information on the circumstances when an estate agent data breach can occur, talk to our advisors. They can advise you on whether you have valid grounds to start the claims process. Contact our team today using the details below.

Evidence Supporting Claims For Data Breaches By Estate Agents

Evidence can be used to help show you experienced financial or psychological damage due to an estate agent data breach. For example, you could collect:

  • Proof of your financial losses, such as bank statements showing unauthorised activity in your accounts.
  • Correspondence between you and the estate agent detailing the nature of the breach and the personal data affected.
  • Medical records that show you experienced psychological distress due to the data breach.

Following a data breach that renders data subject rights and freedoms to be risk, the data controller should notify those subjects as soon as possible, and alert the ICO within 72 hours. The ICO can then investigate the incident. While the ICO will not award any compensation, their findings from the investigation can be useful evidence for your claim.

If you suspect an estate agents mishandled your data, you can express your concerns either verbally or in writing directly to the organisation. You could also complain to the ICO yourself following an unsatisfactory response. Complaining to the ICO is not necessary in order to make a data breach claim.

You can contact our advisors for a cost-free assessment. If they decide you have valid grounds to move forward, a solicitor from our panel could provide assistance with collecting evidence as well as presenting your case within the relevant time limit.

Check What Payout You Could Be Eligible To Claim

There are two types of damage you could be awarded compensation for following a successful estate agent data breach claim:

  • Non-material damage: This is the psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, depression or general stress, or distress, caused by the personal data breach. 
  • Material damage: This is the monetary loss experienced because of the personal data breach. For example, if your credit or debit card details are stolen, it could mean fraudulent purchases are made in your name, or money is stolen from your account.

Following the judgement from the Court of Appeal in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), you can claim compensation for psychological harm without claiming for monetary losses.

When assigning a value to psychological injuries, solicitors can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG contains guideline compensation brackets for different types of mental harm.

We have used figures from the JCG to create this compensation table for non-material damage. However, this information has been provided for guidance purposes only since data breach claims are valued individually. 

Compensation Table

Harm Severity Award Bracket – Guidelines Notes
General Psychiatric Harm Severe (a) £54,830 to £115,730 Very poor prognosis with the marked problems affecting multiple aspects of a person’s life.
Moderately Severe (b) £19,070 to £54,830 A much more optimistic prognosis but still a significant effect on several areas of the person’s life.
Moderate (c) £5,860 to £19,070 Significant improvement across different areas with a good prognosis.
Less Severe (d) £1,540 to £5,860 Length of the period of disability and affect on daily activities considered.
PTSD Severe (a) £59,860 to £100,670 Permanent and severe effects on all aspects of life. The person cannot function the same as they did before the trauma.
Moderately Severe (b) £23,150 to £59,860 Effects still likely to cause significant disability for foreseeable future. However, there is a better prognosis due to some recovery achieved with help from a professional.
Moderate (c) £8,180 to £23,150 The injured person will have largely recovered and continuing affects will not be grossly disabling.
Less Severe (d) £3,950 to £8,180 Cases involving a virtual recovery within one to two years with minor persisting symptoms over a longer period.

Talk to our advisors to discuss how data breach compensation is calculated and for a more specific estimate of your particular claim’s potential value.

Begin Your Claim For An Estate Agent Data Breach With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

After you have received an assessment of your circumstances from our advisors, you could be connected with one of the solicitors from our panel, if they find your case is valid and has a chance of success. They could then offer to take on your estate agent data breach claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

A CFA, a form of No Win No Fee contract, presents notable advantages for claimants. First of all, there will generally not be an upfront fee for the solicitor to start working on your case. Secondly, you won’t be met with fees for their work during the claims process. Finally, if your claim is unsuccessful, there will not be a fee for the solicitor’s services. 

Upon the success of your data breach claim, you will receive a compensation payout for the damage sustained from the breach. A percentage of this compensation will be automatically deducted. This is called a success fee. Solicitors’ success fee percentages are subject to a legally binding cap. What this means for you is, most of your compensation is yours to keep if you win your claim. 

You can talk to our advisors using the contact information below. Our team can answer any of your questions and offer you a cost-free assessment of your potential claim. To speak to them, you can:

Further Guidance On Claims For Data Breaches

More of our data breach guides:

Other resources you may find useful

Thank you for reading our guide on claiming compensation following an estate agent data breach. Our advisors can provide more guidance and offer a free assessment of your potential claim. Get in touch today using the contact details above.

Writer RR

Checked by AC